The Importance Of Touch

I recently thought about why I enjoy watching TV with my son. It’s not really about what we are watching (currently re-runs of Modern Family, which followed bingeing Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Community, Friends, Scrubs). But it is rather the physicality of watching TV with him. See, he pretty much sits on top of me, and is prone to bursts of activity like elbowing me, holding my hand, or slapping me (gently!). It’s this constant forms of touch that are heart-warming.

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Don’t Doubt, Try the Difference

I was reminded how wise Derek Sivers is when I listened to a recent podcast interview of him where he talked on innovation vs imitation. I’ve featured his insights once before, but in case you don’t remember him, he’s a music entrepreneur turned wise owl. To give you a taste of his thoughts, here’s something he wrote on overcoming doubt by trying the difference:

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Can you answer these questions on the state of the world?

The late Hans Rosling found fame through his TED talks on visualising facts about the world. His last book,“Factfulness”, was published a few years ago, and is a great read.

The thrust of the book is that we lazily make assumptions about the world, which are not based on facts. We then formulate big world views based on false assumptions. To make his point, he starts his book with 13 questions on the state of the world. I was surprised by many of the answers. Here are the questions (and the answers). See if you get them right!

13 Questions About the World

1. In all low-income countries across the world today, how many girls finish primary school? Continue reading “Can you answer these questions on the state of the world?”

Don’t Take Politicians So Seriously!

Private Eye

In the current climate of taking political debate over social media so seriously, it’s worth deflating our pompousness by hearing politicians over the ages mocking their profession*:

The Nature of politics

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it wrongly and applying unsuitable remedies. (Ernest Benn)

‘Politics’ is made up of two words: ‘poli’, which is Greek for ‘many’, and ‘tics’, which are bloodsucking insects. (Gore Vidal) Continue reading “Don’t Take Politicians So Seriously!”

My 5 Book Recommendations For the Summer

Summer is here, so it’s time to get some reading time in. Here are some recent books I’ve read, that I’d recommend adding to your list:

Working (Robert Caro, 2019) – Caro is one of the great reporters and biographers of our time. He wrote huge biographies on US President Lyndon Johnson and all-powerful NY urban developer Robert Moses. In this book, “Working”, Caro discusses the research and interviews he did for those biographies. And through them, you learn about Moses and Johnson and the impressive work ethic and humility of Caro.

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My adventures in cooking

One of the positives of the lockdown has been that it’s forced me to cook my own meals. Before COVID, the extent of my cooking was boiling eggs and pasta. Now, I’m comfortable taking on any cooking challenge. I’ve discovered it’s not that hard to follow recipes and it provides a nice structure to the day. In fact, at random moments of my workday, I’ll think about what would happen if I added a bit more lemon juice to a recipe. A nice distraction from our dystopian times.

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Lessons From the First Year Of Our Start-Up.

One year ago, we set up Macro Hive. It came into existence as we sent out our first email. It contained two notes from me – one on climate change, another on the euro-area – a selection of handpicked macro blogs and academic papers, and a curation of podcasts. It felt a bit like sending your child off to school for the first time. An extension of you is venturing into the wild, and you hope for acceptance rather than rejection. A year on, Macro Hive is thriving: we’ve built a great community, developed multiple business lines and built a nice culture. And here are five lessons we’ve learned along the way:

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Whose Lives Matter?

Pink people. Yellow people. Red people. Black people. Brown people. White people. In theory, we believe everyone’s lives matter equally. In practice, we know that’s not true. I like to think in terms of the philosopher John Rawls veil of ignorance. How would you want society to be structured if you didn’t know who you would end being in that society? So, if suddenly your skin turned black, would you be confident that you would get a fair shot in life. Or if the police stopped you – what skin colour would you prefer – white or black?

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